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My name's Joel Kelly and I live in Halifax, NS.

I'm a 20something guy doing digital and social media strategy for a Halifax-based marketing agency.

I'm a vegan nerd and marketing asshole.

You should follow me on Twitter.

Contact me about whatever (like, say, your marketing questions) at

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Social media and tourism

How long do vacations last? A week? Two?

How long does the memory last? Years, likely. If it's a particularly interesting vacation, the memory can last a lifetime.

So which did you pay for, where is the real value? The experience, or the memory?


You paid for the conversation.

You paid to be able to talk to all your friends and family and coworkers about the trip you're planning, you paid to get to email your friends from some exotic locale and make them jealous, and you paid to be able to force everyone you know to look at your photos when you got back.

That's the lasting value, that's what you paid for.

So if you're marketing a tourist destination, are you focused on making it a one-off experience, unsharable and proprietary? Or do you facilitate sharing the memories, do you help your customers tell everyone they know about the great trip they had, or the great B&B they stayed in?

Do you have free wi-fi and cheap post cards at your hotel? Do you allow and encourage people to take pictures at your attraction? Do you market yourselves as conversation pieces, or as a single experience?

Hugh talks a lot about social objects, and about the need to identify what your social object is that you're selling. If you can't figure out what it is about your tourist attraction or accommodation that will start people talking, that will get people to share the memory with their friends, you're in trouble.

And which is more valuable? Tons of ads, or a few people telling everyone they know about how great their trip was? Which one will get more people interested?

Which one are you focusing your marketing budget on?


Mandy said...

Great post about Tourism and Social Media. My name is Mandy and I am the community manger for the Pennsylvania Toursim Office's social media campaign, PAadventure. The campaign's feature is the blog, but we have also created a Youtube Channel, Flickr page, Facebook page and Twitter page. This allows PA expert visitors to share their experiences with other visitors. We connect to all of our sites from Look for a PAadventure facelift within the coming months! Travel and Social Media work so well together because people want to know they will have a good time and by having someone prove to them THEY had a good time... well, you see how it works! Thanks for the post!

Joel Kelly said...

That is so awesome to see Mandy! I love the site and what you're doing over there. Any info on what kind of success you've had with it so far, or any insights you'd like to share?

I'd love to hear more about the project!

Mark Rauterkus said...

Yep. This August, 2008, our family went to Beijing and soaked up the Olympic Games. Our conversations and perspectives are much richer because of it today -- and prior.

Want to see our photos?

Joel Kelly said...

Haha! Post them on Flickr ;) Maegan said...

I'm just wondering where to leave any Beyonce related comments :)

Joel Kelly said...

Haha, anywhere! Ben's a jerk.

Ben said...

bahahahahaha YOU LOVE BEYONCÉ.

That was so worth it.

Joel Kelly said...

I'm worried that it might be easier to just pretend to actually love her than to try to deny it.

Anonymous said...

Ok, Ok I agree! Your right - we go on vacation for the content.

For the short term content and the long term content. We go for content that enriches our lives and makes us more interesting to ourselves and to other people
- and yes I’m in need of a vacation.

The content of the vacation gives us purpose for conversations, day dreams, paintings, poems, internal beliefs, feelings and for memories that make us smile on a rainy day. As content becomes more diverse and rich, the conversations (I'm proposing all of the above are conversations) become more diverse and rich and in turn create more content...and the content circle is complete.

There is no linear relationship between content and conversation that gives one more value over the other. Content is King because it dictates the conversation it is the only purpose of a conversation. Content is king because it is the conversation.